Fire in engine room of twin rig trawler Elegance followed by second fire resulting in flooding and sinking

Location: 1st fire off the Shetland Islands, Scotland. 2nd fire off North Ronaldsay, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 9/2004

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken, and recommendations:

Elegance.pdf (1,157.46 kb)


Investigation into 2 engine room fires, and the subsequent flooding and foundering of the fishing vessel Elegance, 30 miles north-west of Shetland on 30 January 2004 and 8.5 miles west of Shapinsay on 5 March 2004.

Safety Issues

  • the main engine fuel supply quick shut off valve failed to operate because the cable was detached from the operating lever, and the cable connection at the valve was not secured correctly
  • while the fish hold was checked for flooding, nothing was done to check the watertight integrity of compartments aft of the engine room
  • poor husbandry in the engine room resulted in the lifeboat salvage pump suction hose frequently becoming blocked with debris including rags. This hampered the efforts to pump out the engine room
  • contrary to regulatory requirements, no emergency drills had been conducted


Recommendations have been made to multiple organisations because of this investigation.

A safety bulletin has also been produced accompanying this report.

This report was published on 11 August 2004.

Published 23 January 2015